Category: Collection Highlight

New Exhibit | “Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum: We Are All Salmon People”

Roger Dick, Jr. harvesting blueback from scaffold off Highway 14 near Sauter’s Beach; Lyle, Washington. [Jacqueline Moreau papers, Coll 459, Box 10, Folder 4; Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
Salmon are the icon of this place. They are valued as food, as resources, and as a representation of the wildness and wilderness for which the Pacific Northwest is known. Whether they realize it or not, every single person in the Northwest is Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum. We are all Salmon People. Let us all work together to protect and restore salmon—this fish that unites us.
–The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Commission

In honor of Native American Heritage Month the University of Oregon Libraries is pleased to announce an exhibit titled, Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum: We Are All Salmon People. This exhibit honors Oregon’s tribal communities and their traditional cultures, knowledges and lifeways that have sustained them since time immemorial. We first recognize and honor the Kalapuya people, who were the original indigenous inhabitants of the Willamette Valley, including the land that the University of Oregon resides. We are honored to now have the new residence hall, Kalapuya Ilihi Hall, named in honor of those who were here first and in recognition of their traditional homelands.

All of Oregon’s tribal communities share a common connection to their traditional homelands and natural resources provided by the creator that sustains life for their people. This exhibit highlights the tribal cultures along the Columbia River Basin that have a distinct sacred connection to salmon that has shaped their culture, diet, societies and religions for thousands of years. Salmon, or “wy-kan-ush” in the traditional language of Sahaptin, are revered as sacred and one of the most important aspects of tribal culture.

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New Acquisition: Kentucky Manumission, 1801

Special Collections and University Archives has recently added to its collections a manumission written in 1801 by Moses Hall of Nicholas County, Kentucky. This manuscript document is a contract stating that Hall will free Dinah, a black female slave, when she reaches her 23rd birthday in five months (March 10, 1802).

Manumission was the act of freeing a slave by a slave owner, through a deed or will. This act of an individual contrasts with a governmental directive to free slaves, such as the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln in 1863. Manumission in the United States was done for a variety of reasons, ranging from a sentimental gesture to a method of incentivizing obedience at the prospect of eventual freedom. However, the practice became increasingly regulated in order to limit the population of freed black residents in the colonies starting in Virginia in 1691 when a law was passed that required freed slaves to leave the colony within six months and for the previous slave owner to pay for the trip.

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New Acquisition: De Smet’s Missions de l’Orégon, 1848

A rare uncut edition of Jesuit priest Pierre-Jean De Smet’s Missions de l’Orégon et Voyages dans les Montagnes Rocheuses aux sources de la Columbie, de l’Athabasca et du Sascatshawin, en 1845-1846 (Gand [Ghent]: Vander Schelden, 1848) has been added to the Oregon Collection in Special Collections and University Archives. This collection includes published materials that reflect the history, literature, and life in Oregon and the Oregon Territory. The acquisition of Missions de l’Orégon broadens the De Smet holdings in the Oregon Collection and complements other editions held in the collection including the English-language edition (Oregon Missions) and the Flemish-language edition (Missiën van den Orégon, seen on the right below).

Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801-1873) was born in Belgium and emigrated to the United States in 1821 as a novitiate of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He moved to a Jesuit mission in Florissant, Missouri, near St. Louis, and began to study the languages and cultures of Native Americans. He went on first his mission among the Salish after they sent a deputation to St. Louis. De Smet returned with the messengers travelling west through Montana and Wyoming, also visiting the neighboring Nez Perce nation on this journey. In 1845-1846, De Smet undertook one of his longest missions throughout the Rocky Mountains and the Oregon Territory, including the Columbia and Willamette valleys, where he established schools and missions throughout. After these travels, De Smet published an account of the evangelizing expedition in Oregon Missions and Travels over the Rocky Mountains in 1845-46 (New York, 1847). The sale of this book, published in three languages, was part of his continued effort to raise money for Jesuit missions in the Northwest. These fundraising labors included many overseas trips to Europe to meet with papal and European state leaders where his translated books might illustrate his mission and impact to European donors. De Smet saw himself as an ally and advocate of the tribes he was in contact with in the West and was aware of the infringements and persecutions of the federal government toward tribal nations writing, “If our Indians become enraged against the whites, it is because the whites have made them suffer for a long time.”

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New Acquisition: Medieval Deed

The library has recently acquired a Medieval deed recording the sale of a parcel of land in Norfolk that will aid students and researchers interested in the study of the history of law and land-holding in Western Europe.

This document is a type of late Medieval land deed called a feoffment which records the sale of real land or structures between two parties. These types of deeds were born out of the feudal system of land holding in England where a vassal was granted possession of a lord’s land (a fief) in exchange for service and the serfs, peasants who lived on the land, in turn served the land-holders. When granting a fief a vassal promised an oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas or fidelity, which included military or non-military service to the lord.

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New Acquisition: Incunable Leaf

After the advent of movable type in Western Europe, books increasingly became printed works instead of labor-intensive manuscript copies. Printed books produced during this early period of print are commonly called “incunabula,” Latin for “swaddling clothes” or “cradle,” which references the technology’s period of infancy. The period conventionally encompasses works printed before 1501.

Special Collections and University Archives has added an incunable fragment to its collection of materials suitable for teaching and studying the history of the book. This new acquisition is a leaf from the fifteenth century edition of Arbor vitae crucifixae Jesu Christi (ISTC iu00055000) written by the Franciscan Ubertinus de Casali (1259-1329). Ubertino was an outspoken critic of the pontificate and wrote this text after being banished by Pope Benedict XI (1240-1304) from preaching at Perugia. The text espouses a strict interpretation of the Rule of St. Francis and critiques the Franciscan Order for not adhering to an extreme state of poverty.

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